When I started this series I had several ideas for posts and some guests I wanted to invite to contribute. One of those guest writers I deemed a serious long shot! She has a book releasing this year and had recently turned in her manuscript. I knew she had lots to do, but I could not shake that LOVE and REST were connected. And who better than, Shelly Miller, founder of the Sabbath Society, to write about such a topic. I was beyond thrilled when she said that, although she had lots to do, she felt like she was supposed to say yes! Thank you, Shelly!
REST and LOVE are connected!!
“Did you get moved in?” A friend and I were catching up briefly while walking down the center aisle of the church, toward big blue doors that open to busy London streets. The last stragglers to leave the building, she stopped and looked at me before responding. And what she said next made me smile on the inside.
After explaining how the rooms of her flat were cluttered with boxes and a hurricane of clutter — the result of moving due to fire that damaged her building — she admitted walking away from a mountain of work to rest instead. Laughter erupted between us.
I know why she wasn’t stressed out after a house move and why that unusual choice of rest over organizing a new home is easy for her. And I understand why you may assume laughter in the midst of upheaval seems like an irrational response and possible denial.
Rest and love are connected. My friend knows that she is loved. That’s why she can laugh in the midst of uncertainty.
Push, hurry, and hustle are often fueled by the subversive message we tell ourselves that sounds something like this: I am unlovable. My worth is based on measurable outcomes therefore I must produce.
The truth? If you do less, you are not less.
When we know we are loved with nothing to prove, we enter His rest more peacefully. And when we choose Sabbath, we become our truest self.
My friend recently joined the Sabbath Society, an online community of hundreds who long to make rest a priority. Every Friday, she’s been reading the emails I quietly slip through her inbox as encouragement for cultivating rest.
I was smiling on the inside because her peaceful response to the disruption of being displaced by a house fire is proof that Sabbath rhythms truly transform us. A peaceful heart is what makes a peaceful home.
Fear of uncertainty communicates the opposite. Our need for certainty silences the still small voice, what many refer to as intuition, that knower in your gut that says it is time to stop, listen, abide, rest, Sabbath.
With practice, my friend has learned how to identify the still small voice by cultivating a rhythm of rest and deeper trust has become an outcome. When her time to rest fell on a day with an endless to-do list, she chose to abide with Jesus instead of tackling tasks.
We overcome the need for certainty by taking one small step of surrender and trust God to show up. Leave dirty dishes in the sink, close the inbox one day a week, eat lunch alone on a park bench to hear the birds sing, choose being present over productivity, or sit quietly in a room full of boxes, close your eyes, and invite Jesus into conversation.
The result of taking baby steps toward rest? Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. (Proverbs 31:25)
Sabbath stilling is our one day a week, “I love you,” in response to the million different ways He’s communicated love to us during the other six.
What can you surrender this week in order to choose rest and love?
Shelly is a veteran ministry leader and sought-after mentor on Sabbath-keeping. She leads the Sabbath Society, an online community of people who want to make rest a rhythm of life, and her writing has been featured in several national publications. She is the author of Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World (Bethany House Publishers, October 2016). Visit Shelly on her blog, Redemptions Beauty, Facebook and Instagram for more about her adventure living as an expat in London. She is a vicar’s wife and mother of their two children.